First Bryan Church
Savannah, GA 31401
Hours: Open to the public
Monday - Thursday: 9:00a - 3:00p
Tours: Call (912) 232-5526 a day in advance for a tour of the church.
The First Bryan Baptist Church, an African-American church, was organized by Andrew Bryan in 1788. With the help of the members and white friends who were sympathetic to the efforts of the church, Rev. Bryan, a former slave, was able to purchase the lot for approximately $150.00. The first structure was erected in 1794, making this site the oldest parcel of real estate own continuously by black people in the United States. The present sanctuary of First Bryan Baptist Church was constructed in 1873.
The cornerstone for the building (present edifice) was laid on October 13, 1873, by the Grand Lodge of Colored Masons in the State of Georgia. The cornerstone contained a copper box presented by the Sunday School at a cost of $22 dollars. In the box were artifacts given by the members (jewelry, coins, etc.) and receipts, newspaper clippings and other church records.
The labor on the building was done exclusively by black mechanics under the supervision of the architect. The style of architecture is almost pure Corinthian and is similar in design to that of Wesley Chapel in London, England and the Trinity Methodist Church in Savannah.
The first Sunday School for blacks was organized at the church in 1826 by Mr. Lowell Mason, who organized the first Sunday School in Savannah, at the Independent Presbyterian church.
The 1873 building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.